Andrew Balding: My thoughts on our 5 Champions Day runners
The Betway ambassador previews his five entries for Saturday at Ascot, as well as single entries at Caulfield and Wolverhampton.
Morando will absolutely love the ground, and this is his time of year. Obviously, he’s stepping up to be trying this trip for the first time – he’s never been this far before.
We’ve always thought that he’d get it, though, especially if he got his ground, which he will here. He’s a great shape and on his day, is a very talented horse.
Spanish Mission also runs in the Stayers’ race (13:20) and has been very impressive since he joined us this summer. He has won both of his starts and was very impressive in the Doncaster Cup last time.
The best of his form is on better ground, so the softer conditions are a worry, but he is a lovely horse with plenty of ability so if he does handle it he could go very well.
Happy Power is taking his chance in the Sprint (13:55). He’s in great form and is as effective over six on softer ground than he is over an easier mile.
He ran well in QEII last year, but I think this test might just suit him better. You never quite know how much their latest run has left of them – he only won eight days ago – but he seems in great form so it’s worth rolling the dice.
Bell Rock goes in the Balmoral Handicap (16:15) and if I knew he’d relish the ground, I’d be confident of a big run. Like plenty of others, though, his best form is on better ground.
He ran a great race in the Cambridgeshire, and I think the addition of cheekpieces will help sharpen him up a bit. He’s a horse with lots of ability.
Symbolize will love the ground. He ran very well in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier this season but he’s now going as far as he’s ever been, so it’s a question of whether he’ll stay. He’s a smart horse on his day.
Dashing Willoughby is on the other side of the world as he runs in the Caulfield Cup before an assault on the Melbourne Cup, which has been the ultimate target for a while.
It’s difficult to assess these things as they’re in quarantine for a month. They spend the first two weeks in Newmarket, which is a lot easier to manage than the other two, when they are in Australia.
You look for two key things with them which are appetite and good health. He’s bang on his racing weight and is eating well, so the early signs are good.
This is a valuable pot and he’s drawn well. He has some high-class form in the book from over here and if he runs to what he is capable of, then he could run a big race.
Berkshire Philly has been running well at her level all season, it’s just a shame she hasn’t managed to get her head in front. She’s off to the sales after this race (16:55), so it would be nice to get her to win before she goes off.
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